New Zealand’s Katie Sadleir calls herself a “Commonwealth Kid". From Scotland, to growing up in Canada and New Zealand, recently working in Ireland and now based in London as new Commonwealth Games Federation CEO, that description couldn’t be more accurate.
As the Commonwealth Games Federation first female CEO, she’s tasked with transforming Commonwealth Sport with innovations from regional Games hosting to a sports programme that is open enough to have even embraced a pilot a Commonwealth E-Sports Championship set to run parallel to the Games this August.
Humanity, Equality and Destiny are still at the heart of Commonwealth Sports but Sadleir’s vision is a Games that reflects a vibrant and varied Commonwealth.
“We have some of the world’s most populous nations, and some of the smallest,” she explained. “We’re also incredibly young – 60% of the Commonwealth population are less than 30 years old.”
“The sports programme and delivery model need to evolve so Commonwealth Sport remains appealing and relevant.”
The new Commonwealth Programme features just two compulsory sports, giving hosts of the future more room to choose. Co-hosting, or regional hosting is now a real option and the latest successful bid from Victoria 2026 shows how a state-wide Games is set to reshape model. International sporting federations will be encouraged to innovate with the Commonwealth Games a proving ground for exciting new formats.
Kiwi Sadleir, who took up the mantle as CEO of the CGF just six months ago, has been back in New Zealand sharing the future of Commonwealth Sport with event, government and sporting leaders. She was also able use her time in New Zealand to check in with two other New Zealanders helping create an exciting Commonwealth future - Commonwealth Athlete Advisory Committee member Alison Shanks (New Zealand medal winning track cyclist) and Commonwealth Games Federation Vice President Kereyn Smith.
“Athletes are agents for change,” said Sadleir who has just confirmed athletes at Birmingham 2022 will be able to advocate for social justice inside official venues. “We can’t wait to see athletes use their voices for good and are excited the upcoming Commonwealth Games will give them a platform to do so.
“Athlete leaders like Ali, supported by forward focussed New Zealanders like Kereyn have been real drivers of this shift.”